Rodents are highly adaptable animals that make up over 40 percent of the mammal class. With more than 2,230 species identified, their ranks are massive, although only three types are considered major pests. They are the house mouse, the Brown and Black Rat.
These three rodents are identified as major pests because they are commonly found near human dwellings and are most likely to benefit from human structures, food and waste. Rats and mice pose an issue for humans living within the same vicinity for a number of reasons.
Rats and mice are also successful breeders. A female rat can reproduce every three weeks, and usually gives birth to about six to 10 young at one time. A female mouse reproduces every three to four weeks and usually gives birth to about five or six young, although sometimes up to 12. This means that both rat and mice colonies can grow large quickly, although rats only live for about a year. Mice can live up to two or three years under ideal conditions.
Black Rat (Rattus rattus)
16 – 24 cm in length, with a tail longer than the head and body.
150 – 200g in weight.
Pointed nose, large ears and a slender body when compared to the Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus).
5 – 10 young per litter; 3 – 6 litters a year.
Gestation period of about 3 weeks.
12 – 16 weeks from birth to sexual maturity.
Appearance confined mainly to ports.
Often climbs, agile, rarely burrowing and rarely outdoors in India.
Preferred food is moist fruits.
Will eat around 15g of food a day and drink 15ml.
Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus)
Brown rats usually prefer ground living and burrowing, but sometimes they can be known to climb.
Up to 40 cm in length, with a tail shorter than the head and body.
350 – 500g in weight.
Blunt nose, small ears and a thicker body when compared to the Black Rat (Rattus rattus).
7 – 8 young per litter; 3 – 6 litters a year.
Gestation period of about 3 weeks.
10 – 12 weeks from birth to sexual maturity
Usually ground living and burrowing, but sometimes climbs. The only species to occur in sewers in India.
Preferred food is cereals.
Will eat around 30g of food a day and drink 60ml.
Rat infestation poses variety potential harms to home and business.
• Rats are known to spread infections such as Salmonella, Hantavirus and Leptospirosis : Rats also transmit tape worms and fungal skin infections. Rats are also known to introduce secondary pests into your premises, such as fleas and biting mites.
• They cause damage to stock and buildings : A rat's sharp teeth can gnaw through cables, plastic, wooden doors and even mild steel. Rats can causing short circuits and subsequently fires if they chew on insulation and cables.
• They contaminate food stuffs and goods : Wet fur on the underbelly of rats soaked in urine can transmit diseases to work surfaces, table tops or anywhere the rat has climbed.
Rats are nocturnal and usually hide from humans. The typical signs of a rat problem in the home are:
• Scratching noises - in walls or under the floor as rats scurry around.
• Droppings – rats leave dark, tapered droppings about 10-14mm long.
• Distinctive smell – rats leave an ammonia-like smell that will be particularly strong in enclosed areas such as under cupboards.
• Bite marks – rats have teeth that grow continuously and gnaw on wood and plastic to keep them trim. Rats can even cause fires by chewing through cables.
• Ripped food packaging – rats will tear open food which may leave teeth marks.
• Nests – rats build nests in warm, hidden places using shredded material such as newspaper and fabrics. Nests will often contain young rats.
• Burrows - in gardens, rats will dig burrows especially in compost heaps or under sheds. They will also build nests under garden decking.
• Smears - build-up of dirt and grease from the rat's fur, commonly on walls and surfaces where rats commute.
The First Step for Rat Control is Sanitation, Inspection and Exclusion.
Inspection is an important first step in getting rid of rats. Once you know the location of the rats, you can set traps or place bait."
Exclusion is an important rodent control technique. It will get rid of the rats by making it difficult for them to enter the home or structure. Rats are easier to exclude than mice because rats a typically larger. Mice can enter an opening as small as 3/8" wide. All openings greater that 1/4" should be sealed to exclude mice. For rats, all openings greater that 1/2" should be sealed."
Rats (especially Roof rats) are wary of new objects, new foods or changed in environment. They are constantly exploring surroundings and notice changes and are suspicious by nature. This is why traps and bait stations may be avoided for a day or two. They approach new food or object with caution. Within a rat colony, they may be a few rats that are extra cautious and manage to avoid traps or eating rodent baits.
The Second Step for Rat Control is Trapping or Baiting. The most effective methods to get rid of rats is trapping them and placing rodent baits.
Place rat traps in high-activity areas of the rat colony. These areas may include darkened corners, along walls, behind appliances and objects, and all areas where droppings are evident.
Since rats need to touch surfaces as they move, place them accordingly. Place rat traps spaced from 15-20 feet apart. Remember to place them touching a wall since rats like to run along walls to avoid detection.
Since rats prefer enclosed, safe locations, use Rodent Bait Stations with the Snap Traps. These stations will shelter the rat; encouraging it to enter and protect non-targeted animals and children from the harm of the snap trap.
The Snap Traps are fine traps, but its height will not fit into bait stations. If this is the case, you can get a cardboard box, cut holes in it and place it over the Victor Snap Trap. However, this method is not tampered resistant.
Position rat traps to maximize the chances of rats to cross over the traps during their natural travels along their runways. Set snap traps extended at a right angle from a wall with the trigger end almost touching the wall. If rat traps are set parallel to the wall, set them in pairs with triggers situated to intercept the rats from either direction.
Worried about pests ? Call MASA at our Unified Number 920001330 for a free inspection. Our pest control expert will schedule an inspection to assess your problem and recommend an effective solution for the same.